The chief ministers of the NDA-ruled states accused the UPA government of bias at the National Development Council (NDC) meeting. Gujarat’s Narendra Modi took the lead, pointing out several flaws in the Centre’s policies. Inflation, Naxalism and inadequate Central funding were some of the issues raised.
Modi first hit out at the Centre for failing to utilise the opportunity provided by global economic reform to change the existing regulatory regime. He sought labour to be a state subject to provide flexibility in utilising labour for industrial growth, while stating that Gujarat’s economic growth has exceeded the target.
Echoing other NDA-ruled states, Modi said the Right to Education Act will be a huge financial burden on the states and asked the Centre to bear all expenses for its implementation. Plan panel deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia later ruled out allocating additional amount.
He also accused the Centre of “lacking vision and political will” to check inflation and said the “overwhelming” response to the July 5 ‘Bharat Bandh’ was a “timely warning which cannot be ignored”.
To this, Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee said, “if inflation could have been controlled by demonstration, I would have been first to do so.”
Citing the plan panel’s observation on Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Gujarat CM wanted the government to set up a JPC to go into the issue of corruption and took a dig at the Centre saying that the CBI can also inquire, if they have time.
Alongside Modi, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh took up the Naxalism issue and accused the bureaucrats in Delhi of not realising the ground realities.
Most of the mining activities are being undertaken by central PSUs and they spend just 3 per cent of their profit on development, Singh said, while seeking Rs 4,500 crore package for all Naxal-affected districts of the state.
Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wanted the Centre’s Naxal plan to cover all 15 affected districts. He also asked the Planning Commission to expeditiously approve a plan for development of Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput districts.
Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal said the powers conferred upon the states by the Constitution were being usurped by the Centre and reiterated the state’s demand for redefining Centre-state relations. He asked for more powers and greater share of taxes.
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan accused a Group of Ministers (GoM) on Bhopal gas disaster of ignoring the dead and sought another meeting of the group to discuss additional compensation issue.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa asked the Congress to prove charges against his cabinet ministers alleged to be involved in illegal mining in Bellary, while asking the Central government to ban import of iron ore from the state to stop illegal mining.